Black Friday, Woman holding many shopping bags while walking in the shopping mall background.

The Environmental Impact of Black Friday

Consumers spent a record $9.12 billion shopping online during Black Friday this year, and are expected to spend $210.1 billion this holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s an anticipated increase of 2.5 percent from 2021.

Each year, holiday shopping statistics prompt a look at the environmental impact of consumerism in the United States and around the world. Black Friday and the surge in spending during the holiday season, sparks conversation regarding environmental concerns involving waste, emissions, “fast fashion,” and most recently Environmental, Social and …

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Female engineer working on maintenance in bottling plant

Ethylene Oxide Alert: Deliberative Process Privilege Found To Not Justify Withholding EtO Data in Texas

Our blog recently reported on the first jury verdict concerning alleged ethylene oxide exposure and has previously reported a number of times here generally about ethylene oxide (EtO).  Ethylene oxide is a gas commonly used to make other chemicals utilized in a variety of consumer and industrial goods, including fabric, detergents, medicines, and adhesives. It is used to sterilize medical devices and spices and to kill microorganisms in grains. EtO is a well-established sterilizing agent highly efficient at preventing bacteria from growing on, or within, products during …

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batteries

The Future’s So Bright…Because My Tech Just Lit on Fire

The principals of electrochemical power have been known for more than 200 years. Two specific chemicals are stored in a battery, separated by a third chemical called an “electrolyte.” When placed in a closed circuit (the device needing power), one of the chemicals reacts with the electrolyte and produces a higher concentration of electrons at the negative terminal, the “anode,” than at the positive terminal, the “cathode.” The electrons then run from the anode, through the device powering it, to the cathode, until the concentration …

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EPA Establishes Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights

On September 24, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the establishment of a new office dedicated to advancing civil rights and environmental justice. The Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR) was created through the merger of three existing internal programs: the Office of Environmental Justice, the External Civil Rights Compliance Office, and the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center. The OEJECR will oversee the delivery of over $3 billion in grants to assist communities that are adversely impacted by environmental challenges such as …

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New Microplastics Requirements Put California’s Drinking Water to the Test

As previously reported in ELM, microplastics – plastic fragments smaller than 5 millimeters in length – have been found everywhere from Antarctica (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/microplastics-found-for-the-first-time-in-freshly-fallen-snow/) to human lung tissue (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/study-finds-microplastics-in-human-lung-tissue/) to, especially, bodies of water (https://environmentallawmonitor.com/emerging-issues/can-biofilm-engineering-be-used-to-address-microplastics-pollution/). This ubiquity has led to an increased number of studies and ever-improving sampling methods for the purposes of reversing the omnipresence of microplastics. 

After years of research involving several dozen laboratories, last week, California’s Water Resources Control Board approved microplastics testing requirements – the world’s …

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New Law Provides Clean Energy Tax Credit Bonanza

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that President Biden signed into law on August 16 ran, all told, about 725 pages. One of the more complex and—for businesses—interesting portions of this law involves its restructuring and expanding of clean-energy tax credits, which may provide opportunities for companies operating in and around the clean-energy area. 

The IRA increased the tax credits’ appeal by extending them at full value for 10 years; the credits only decline once power-sector carbon emissions fall to 75% of today’s levels. It also expanded the scope of these …

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EPA Renews Push for New ‘EtO’ Regulations and Outreach   

Following a study of 100 commercial sterilizer facilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on August 3 it would takes steps to inform communities throughout the country about the risks posed by ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from 23 of specific sterilizer facilities.  

The agency further announced that, using data from the same study as well as ongoing critical EtO research, EPA will propose new regulations intended to protect public health from EtO emissions and protect workers at the facilities themselves, by the end of 2022 …

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Kids File Climate-Change Suit Against Their Home State, Alleging Betrayal 

Faced with back-to-back years of unprecedented flooding, wildfires, and soaring temperatures, sixteen teens and children from Montana, ages 2-18, are suing their home state in what may precipitate the next wave of climate-change litigation. 

With favorable rulings from a state judge and the Montana Supreme Court, the children’s lawsuit is on track to become the first such climate lawsuit to go to trial in the United States. It alleges that Montana, by fostering fossil fuels as its primary energy resource, is contributing to a deteriorating …

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New York State Continues to Slow Down Accelerating Crypto Mining Industry Growth Upstate

Just weeks after both houses of the New York State legislature finally passed an environmental-conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations (as previously reported by ELM here: New York is Ready to Attack Crypto Mining), the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced its long-awaited decision concerning the air permit renewal application by a former coal-fired plant near Seneca Lake. The facility, purchased and refurbished by Greenidge Generation to run an extensive crypto mining business, has been dependent on roughly 17,000 servers. As previously addressed …

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Lithium and Minerals Alert: To Mine or Not to Mine? The Perfect Paradox

In March, ELM posted on the burgeoning environmental conflict over plans to construct an open-pit lithium mine in Thacker Pass, Nevada — plans triggered by what has become a momentous shift away from an emissions-intensive, fossil-fuel based economy, to one powered by renewables. See: “Ranchers, Environmentalists, and Indigenous Communities Lock Arms Against Homegrown Lithium.”

Precipitated by the potential for domestically sourced minerals to foster homegrown energy and in turn breed income, twenty-first century prospectors have been flocking to the nation’s once abandoned mineral …

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